Real kidnap-hostage guidelines for banks in the 1970s

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The banker’s companion (1976)

In a world of terrorism, kidnapping and random violence, nobody can be too careful — or so the American Bankers Association has apparently concluded.

This wallet card, being distributed to top bankers under the ABA’s imprimatur, offers common-sense advice and space for handy phone numbers in case of emergency. But the ABA refuses to discuss the idea. “To publicize it is to tip off the clever crook,” a spokesman said.

Real kidnap-hostage guidelines for banks in the 1970s

The card: Kidnap-hostage guidelines

“Safety of hostage is paramount”

BE CALM: Get all details. Note mood & characteristics of caller. Attempt to verify identity & condition of hostage. Keep talking. Assure caller of cooperation. Make notes.

ASSESS THREAT: Is it a hoax? Is it genuine? Ask to speak with hostage.

PAYOFF: Explain problems of accessibility of funds, e.g., dual controls & time-locks. Insist on clarification of payoff. Attempt to arrange simultaneous exchange of ransom for hostage.


  • Include attempts to contact hostage at usual locales.
  • Make immediate notifications.
  • Describe vehicle and route to payoff, if payoff is to be made.

Carry with you at all times

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